Household Cavalry Museum review
Visit London Drum’s YouTube channel for more videos
If I told you that there's a museum 500 feet from Downing Street with some horses and a stable inside, then you'd probably think that I was mad. Well, I'm not mad. (Well actually, I am mad -- but that's beside the point.) Even most of the locals don't realise that there's an 18th-century stable down Whitehall. They all know where Horse Guards is, but they rarely stop to think who the actual 'horse guards' are -- they're soldiers from the Household Cavalry, made up of two different regiments: the Life Guards and Blues & Royals.
The mounted sentries that occupy the horse boxes are from the Household Cavalry. If you're lucky enough to see them change over shifts then you can stand there and watch them enter the stables through a big door on the righthand side of the courtyard (where the foot guard is standing). When you enter the museum you can see these exact same horses being groomed through a plate glass window. That's where I'm standing right now: in the Household Cavalry Museum watching the soldiers talk to the horses.
The horses are huge -- and I mean huuuuge. They might have matchstick legs but their bodies are bigger than a concrete barrel. They're just standing there staring at the wall whilst the soldiers are walking around with all their gleaming gear on, in various states of undress, getting ready for their sentry duty. It's a bit like peering into a football changing room at half-time -- you can see what's going on behind the scenes. I can see one guy sitting on a bench polishing his golden buckles, whilst another one is tightening up his leather braces. They're all acting totally oblivious to the tourists taking photos of them. I guess they must be used to it.
That window is definitely the best thing about the museum. The rest of it will only appeal to military enthusiasts. It's literally just two rooms filled with old uniforms and weaponry, and a bit about the Battle of Waterloo. They've got some old medals, saddles and swords, and a few bugles, too, and some dusty old muskets and guns. The regiments date back 300 years to the reign of Charles II, so they've accumulated pretty much every kind of memento going. They've got pipes and prayer books, canes and cards, and display cases full of shiny finery. Some of the plumed helmets must be two feet tall at least, like a giant haircut, with feathers bursting out the top like an ornamental fountain. The French must have seen those peacocks coming from miles away.
Their uniforms became a lot more drab when they reached the First World War -- everyone seemed to be dressed up in the colour of mud. Happily for the horses they were replaced by armoured cars and tanks in the 1940s. Nobody goes to war on a horse anymore. It's all about pomp and pageantry these days, parading up and down for the tourists. They're a bit like pampered supermodels now -- they just stand there eating carrots whilst some poorly paid humans brush their hair and polish their shoes so they can strut around outside, whilst crowds of people snap photographs of them. If you took these catwalk horses to war then they'd complain about the mud.
Have you been here? Are you going?Ask a question, or write your own review
I’ve been here more than once…
Have you seen my London book?
Honest reviews of London’s landmarks and attractions
Money saving tips things to do for free and cheap days out
Useful information with opening times, prices, photos, maps
Ebook + paperback Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwall’s, Waterstones +more
Read my review:
Dr. Johnson's House
If you flick through a few London guidebooks then it won't be long before you find the phrase "If you're tired of L… more
Read my review:
Horse Guards Parade
When people talk about Horse Guards they usually think of the gravel parade ground where the military bands do Beating R… more
Read my review:
Why not give McDonalds a miss today, and come to Borough Market instead? This is no ordinary street market. This is a fo… more
Read my review:
Burlington Arcade is famous for its Beadles: they look like doormen dressed up in top hats and tails and are supposed to… more
|> What’s on in Dec|
|> What’s on in Jan|
|> What’s on in Feb|
|> What’s on in Mar|
Get an Oyster for the cheapest fares The easiest way to travel in London
> Save money Get the cheapest fares on London transport
> Easy to use Pay as you go credit on the buses, boats and underground trains
Save some money with London Pass Cheap entry into London attractions
> Save money Free or discounted entry into top attractions
> Save time Jump the longest queues with Fast Track entry